Dental caries

Dental caries is one of the most common causes of toothache and jaw pain. When a small particle of food is deposited in the tooth decay, it causes stabbing pain.

The thick enamel and dentin form the two outer layers of a tooth.
An injury to these two layers is called “dental caries”.

This deficiency of necessary minerals is called demineralization and occurs mainly due to the presence of acids on the teeth.

Caries occurs mainly on the molars (molars and premolars), but occurs less frequently in the lateral incisors.
It should not be forgotten that a sealed tooth can develop caries just as much as a healthy one.
A decrease in the gums can expose the root of the tooth. Caries at this altitude is called root caries.


Types of caries

According to Black, caries is divided into the following cavity classes: Class I:
Caries in the occlusal region (chewing surface) of the premolars and molars and in the fissures of the incisors and canines.
Class II: Caries on the lateral surfaces of the premolars and molars.
Class III: Caries on the lateral surfaces of the vaginal and canine teeth.
Class IV: Caries on the lateral surfaces of the vaginal and canine teeth, which extends beyond the cutting edge.
Class V: Caries between the tooth crown and the root.

Classification by affected area
Caries can develop in different areas of the teeth, so it is divided into:

  • distal caries, if it points towards the pharynx;
  • mesial caries, when it points towards the opening of the mouth;
  • occlusal caries, when it develops on the chewing surface;
  • buccal caries, when it points in the direction of the cheeks;
  • lingual caries, when it points towards the tongue.

Causes of dental caries

Structural defects: If the teeth are not aligned correctly, cleaning is difficult. This can cause a bacterial infection and dental caries.

Hard blows during sports activities and trauma in accidents can damage a tooth.

The formation of caries may be due to insufficient fluorine in the teeth and lack of saliva in the mouth (dry mouth).
Fluorine protects tooth enamel and helps prevent holes, grooves or crevices.

Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia (where you eat frequently and vomit) can also be a cause of dental tooth decay.
Heartburn or vomiting leads to an interaction between tooth enamel and stomach acid, and thus to the gradual destruction of tooth enamel.

Bacteria: Normally, bacteria are found in the mouth that convert starch and sugar into acids.
Food particles, bacteria, acid and saliva mix in the mouth and form a substance called dental plaque. Plaque is quite sticky and settles on the teeth, especially on the bulging surfaces of the anterior molars and on the edges of dental fillings.

Acids: When the plaque settles on the tooth surface, the acids present in it dissolve the surface of the enamel. If the plaque remains on the tooth, these acids gradually corrode the tooth and damage the internal structure.

Plaque forms within 20 minutes of eating, during which most of the bacterial activity takes place.
If it is not regularly removed from the teeth, it mineralizes to tartar. Tartar and plaque together irritate the gums and cause gingivitis and periodontitis.

Foods containing sugar and starch: The type of carbohydrates consumed, the duration and frequency of meals are factors associated with dental caries. Sticky foods that stick to the tooth surface are more harmful compared to those that don’t.
The consumption of frequent snacks increases the duration of contact between acids and tooth surfaces and also leads to the formation of tooth decay.

Caries in children

If the resulting caries is very deep, nerves and blood vessels located in the central pulp may be affected.
Also, milk teeth of children aged 2, 3, 4 or 5 years can develop tooth decay. It must be treated, even if the teeth will fall out soon after.

Causes of dental caries

If the sugar is used by the bacteria in the children’s mouths to form acids, dental caries can develop.

  • Carbohydrate-rich foods (such as french fries, peanut butter, crackers, etc.) can damage the tooth.
  • Drinking large amounts of carbonated drinks can erode tooth enamel.
  • Frequent consumption of sweet foods (such as chocolates, cakes, etc.) can lead to tooth decay.
  • If you do not brush your teeth properly regularly, damage and eventually tooth decay can occur.

Symptoms of dental caries

At the initial stage, caries causes no pain and no symptoms. It is also impossible to tell if there is a caries that grows day by day and damages the internal tooth structures.

The symptoms of major dental caries are:

  • Tooth hypersensitivity
  • Toothache
  • Pain when chewing
  • Visible depressions or holes in the teeth
  • Mild or severe pain when eating or drinking hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks
  • Pain when inhaling cold air
  • Halitosis

The consequences of neglected caries are damage to the internal tooth structure and tooth pulp, which leads to the death of blood vessels and dental nerves.

Untreated caries can develop rapidly, destroying an important part of the tooth and provoking an abscess.
When the tooth is destroyed, it no longer regenerates. However, treatment can prevent the progression of tooth decay.

Diagnosis of dental caries

Most people ignore the signs and symptoms associated with tooth decay and wait until the tooth causes severe discomfort. However, toothache is the last symptom of tooth decay.
The only thing you can do is to carry out regular check-ups that can reduce the extent of the tooth injury.
During check-ups, the dentist uses a dental instrument to assess the teeth.

How is dental caries treated?

At a visit to the dentist, the doctor (after evaluating the symptoms) will check the teeth to see if there is tooth decay. The dentist needs to recognize the severity of the damage to decide what type of treatment is necessary.

If it is a small, superficial caries, the dentist may decide not to intervene.

With deep caries, devitalization can save the tooth. In the case of minor tooth decay, some home remedies can temporarily help relieve caries-related pain.
One should always go to the dentist, as toothache can also indicate serious illnesses.

Possible forms of treatment are:

Fillings: If the decomposition reaches deep into the enamel, the tooth must be provided with a filling.
As a rule, the dentist performs local anesthesia to numb the patient’s lip.
When filling caries, part of the affected tooth is removed and filled with a material that restores the shape of the tooth.
Fillings can be made from composite resins (which are the same color of teeth), silver amalgam, gold or porcelain.
In the past, fillings were brown or black, today there are materials in light color.
Silver amalgam is a mixture of metals such as mercury and tin.
Even though a medical study (which is somewhat controversial) has shown that silver amalgam is a safe choice for dental fillings, some people are afraid of the harmful effects of mercury used in the body.
Silver amalgam is a very easy material for the dentist to use, as it allows fillings to be made quickly and inexpensively.
On the other hand, gold and porcelain are the most expensive variants for dental fillings.

Crowns: In the case of extensive damage, multiple fillings weaken the tooth. In this case, a crown is used. The damaged part of the tooth is removed, treated and provided with a crown or coating on the remaining tooth. Most crowns are made of gold or porcelain.

Devitalization: In the case of serious problems in which the nerves are also affected, devitalization must take place. In this treatment, the pulp is removed with the affected parts of the tooth. This area is then sealed with a material to protect the inner area of the tooth from harmful bacteria.

Pulling the tooth: If the caries has progressed through the neck of the tooth (higher area) to the base of the tooth, the dentist may have to pull the entire tooth.
Often the dentist removes the wisdom tooth if it is affected by caries.

Women in pregnancy must have caries treated regardless of their condition, but should better refrain from an X-ray of the teeth so as not to endanger the child.

Natural remedies for tooth decay

Fluorine treatment: Toothpastes and mouthwashes already contain some fluorine, as this mineral is important for the health of teeth.
Fluorine prevents tooth decay and helps teeth repair themselves.
SourceSantos AP, Oliveira BH, Nadanovsky P.

Gargling: Gargling with warm salt water helps kill bacteria in the mouth and throat. It eliminates bad breath and foul taste in the mouth.

Lemon with asant: Chewing a slice of lemon and zest (which contains a lot of vitamin C) can help relieve the pain. Make a paste of asant powder and lemon juice. Heat the mixture slightly and insert a cotton ball soaked with this paste into the dental caries. After a few minutes, the person feels better.

Garlic and onions: The antibacterial and antifungal properties of garlic and onions help relieve toothache. By eating onions regularly, you can prevent tooth decay. In case of toothache due to caries, you can put an onion slice on the painful tooth.
The application of a paste of garlic and rock salt helps to relieve toothache caused by caries.
Regular use of garlic in the diet makes teeth strong and healthy. When garlic is chewed, allicin is released.
Allicin has antibiotic properties. It doesn’t hurt to try these natural home remedies for toothache caused by tooth decay.

Ice treatment: Put some ice cubes in a small sealable bag. Wrap the bag in a towel and hold the envelope to the jaw near the painful tooth.

Fluorine-containing toothpaste: One should always use an effective toothpaste that contains fluorine. Some toothpastes also contain clove oil.

Healthy eating: A healthy diet (especially for toddlers and seniors) plays an important role in preventing tooth decay-related pain. One should avoid sugary drinks and foods. Sugar triggers the release of acid by bacteria. A candy that is chewed in the mouth for 5 minutes leads to less acid release by bacteria than a drink that is drunk slowly for over an hour.

Over-the-counter medications: If the pain does not subside with the use of the above home remedies, you can take over-the-counter painkillers or anesthetics, provided you have previously consulted a doctor. To eliminate caries-related pain, oregano oil, olive oil and tea bags also help.

Caries prevention and nutrition

Here are some simple ways to prevent tooth decay:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day. If you can’t clean them after every meal, you should at least always rinse your mouth.
  • One should avoid frequent snacks.
  • One should eat foods such as cheese, fruits and vegetables, which are naturally good for the teeth.
  • Use a fluorine-containing toothpaste.
  • Floss to clean the interdental spaces.
  • Visit the dentist regularly.

Today, dental health studies have revealed many treatment options for dental caries.

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